O'Callaghan fillies poised to collect
Michael O'Callaghan, who has this year enhanced his reputation as one of the training ranks' rising stars, is tipped to collect with both of his runners at Dundalk tonight.
The Curragh handler has hit double figures for a first time by doubling his 2014 turf season tally of five winners.
Kotonic and Maknificent are two fillies that could further complement that record now.
Maknificent is nap material in the concluding 10-furlong handicap. Emmet McNamara's mount is stepping back up to this trip, having stayed on when third to Johann Bach over a mile at the Curragh last time.
Previously at headquarters, while she had won over an extended mile at Killarney, she had gone very close when third over this trip.
Maknificent remains capable of winning off this mark, then, now that she returns to a more suitable trip.
The contest that she tackles features more quantity than quality. Her main threat is likely to come from Talented Kid. David Nagle's six-year-old won with something to spare at Navan on Wednesday. He turns out under a five-pound penalty now, and will go close if he gets home, which isn't a given.
Kotonic is also fancied to be thereabouts in the nursery. When second at Down Royal in September, the Kodiac filly readily accounted for Jenniechild, which re-opposes now after winning at the Curragh in the meantime.
O'Callaghan's charge has been allotted top-weight, but her task is aided by the booking of Killian Leonard, who takes a valuable 10lbs off her back.
Johnny Levins' Aye Aye Skipper, second to Talented Kid on Wednesday, is also likely to have a big say in the mile apprentices' race, while Eddie Lynam and Colm O'Donoghue could combine to take the opening maiden with Falcao. The Majestic Missile gelding hasn't been entirely convincing to date, but he drops back in trip to six furlongs here. That is expected to suit, and the opposition is only fair.
In the Listed Mercury Stakes, five of the 11 runners travel from across the water, including Mark Prescott's recent course two-year-old winner, Marsha. She could figure given the weight she receives, while Aidan O'Brien's Eisenhower is another unexposed sort.
Tom Hogan's Gordon Lord Byron is more streetwise and would set the standard at his best. However, he has been a little below par recently, and five furlongs is sharp enough for him.
Preferred is David Griffiths' Take Cover. A pacey sort that has run well in Group One company and chased Sole Power home at the Curragh in September, Fran Berry's mount should take a bit of stopping.